When your cat licks its stomach or other parts of its body excessively, begin by thoroughly wasting the "inside" of the pet's body.
The sight of a cat washing itself does not surprise anyone. It's a die-hard purgatory. They take great care of their fur and spend a lot of time cleaning it (even 3 hours a day), during which they do not sleep. However, when the cat is washed too thoroughly and eventually gets rid of its fur - know that something is wrong. When a cat licks its belly or other parts of its body, act immediately!
A brilliant tool
The cat's organism has perfectly adapted to taking care of its own hygiene. Nature has endowed him with an extraordinary tool, which is language. Its structure is so perfect that it inspired scientists who, following its example, create various cleaning devices with amazing functions. However, cat washing is about much more than just keeping it clean ...
Everything worth knowing about cats
The important role of care
Hygiene has more functions for a cat than simply taking care of its appearance. Cats as hunters must be clean, otherwise their smell, as well as the smell of their prey, could reveal their presence to other predators. It is therefore a procedure aimed at ensuring safety. Licking is also a way to cool down on hot days.
But licking the fur is also a form of stress relief. It brings relief and improves comfort. It happens that friendly cats wash each other. Interestingly, such behavior may also apply to another species, e.g. a dog or a trusted human being. In this case, mutual care serves to strengthen the bond.
A clean cat is, above all, a healthy cat. It is from the neglected condition of the coat that you can say that something is probably wrong with the cat's health or well-being. Keeping your cat clean is much more important than it might seem at first glance. Therefore, if a cat is neglected in this area, attention should be paid to the state of its body and psyche. A cat does not wash when it is seriously ill, too obese, weak or stressed. It also does not do this in the case of depression or severe pain. But…
Cats, as very emotional animals, like to go to various extremes. Frisky with a weakened sense of security, functioning in constant danger and stress, may not wash due to permanent malaise. But he can also over-groom himself to soothe his frayed nerves. Washing fur also has the function of alleviating discomfort and bringing relief in various situations. The release of endorphins accompanying the licking makes the cat feel real pleasure.
Also, a cat that is in pain may not wash at all because of it, but it may also try to relieve itself by licking - that's why it licks, often on the skin. We also mentioned that obese cats are not able to reach everywhere - their care is difficult. Therefore, not being able to wash themselves completely, they focus too much on the areas they are able to reach.
As you can see, a cat may abandon grooming for the same reasons, but it may also overindulge in it. Neither of these paths is good and needs intervention, but most of all diagnosis. In the case of cats - nothing is always and for sure. Each case is different and requires an individual approach.
When to worry when your cat licks its belly?
Because cats spend so much time cleaning themselves, it's hard to tell when it's getting out of hand. So when do you start to worry? You should be alarmed when you see that the cat focuses mainly on one part of the body. It is the belly, feet and tail that most often fall victim to over-care. Visible hair loss, bare patches, torn scraps of hair - each of these eventualities should prompt us to visit the vet immediately. Medical exclusion is the first thing we should do.
Health reasons for licking
The most common reasons why a cat licks its stomach or other parts of the body to its bare skin are:
- itching (caused by parasites, insects, allergies)
- dry skin (most often in winter, when radiators heat up)
- chemical irritation
- pain associated with licking the sore area, but not only that, because we can deal with transference (licking itself, no matter where, is supposed to bring relief to the cat)
Examine the urine, do an ultrasound and X-ray
Cats are often victims of urinary tract inflammation. It is associated with pain and discomfort in the abdomen and podigonia. Licking these areas is intended to bring relief to the cat. Therefore, it is imperative that you do a urine test to rule out a urological problem. Ultrasound examination will also help determine the condition of other internal organs that may potentially be a source of pain. X-ray will evaluate the feline spine. The animal tries to relieve radiating pain from the lumbar spine by licking its abdomen.
Mental causes of licking
If medical reasons have been ruled out, behavioral causes should be considered. Animals as sensitive as our cats are often victims of the fatal consequences of chronic stress. Psychogenic alopecia in cats (psychogenic dermatosis) is a fairly common condition that cannot be treated by a vet. Cat anxiety can be caused by anything. Every change in the environment, new tenant, moving, renovation, long absence of the guardian, visit of guests, conflict with another cat, trauma related to an event.
Sometimes, however, nothing needs to happen for a cat to "get out of balance". Boredom, lack of stimuli, inability to pursue a hunting nature, poor living environment - these things are as dangerous as the above-mentioned over-impulse situations. In this case, licking compensates for the lack of other activities important for the cat.
When the cat licks its belly… What is the treatment like?
Of course, therapy will depend on the diagnosis. It is the cause of the problem that will determine how we will deal with the cat. Any health problems should be treated under the watchful eye of your vet. If organism-related causes are ruled out, the focus will be on the cat's environment and needs that may have been neglected.
Everything worth knowing about cats
A cat that has learned to deal with problems through licking may even do so after removing the cause of the behavior. The cat has already been positively conditioned to the fact that licking brings him relief. Therefore, as a caregiver, you must remember that, as with any therapy, patience and consistency are also necessary here. However, the initiation of therapy should not be postponed. Psychogenic dermatosis can lead to skin infections as well as problems with the digestive tract (too much hair that is swallowed).
When your cat licks its stomach or other parts of its body excessively, start by carefully examining the "inside" of the pet's body. When it turns out that the kitten's health is fine, you can breathe a sigh of relief and deal with her behavior. Don't hesitate! Don't let the purr exaggerate his behavior too much, and of course, lest he hurt himself. The most important thing in working with such a pet will be routine, repeatability, regularity as well as a lot of patience and understanding for our pupil.